Friday, May 6, 2011

Newt's new campaign manager's views on social media

From an article a month before the 2010 election, when Rob Johnson was Rick Perry's campaign manager:
Campaign staffers and Perry himself are quick to point out that the governor's not exactly hurting for name recognition. So instead of plastering the state with Perry's name on stickers and yard signs, says campaign manager Rob Johnson, the staff is leaning heavily on the new online tools.

"We don't have paid headquarters in towns across the state," Johnson said. "We don't have physical offices. We don't do any of those annoying auto-dialers. We're depending completely, entirely, on social networks and personal contact, rather than the traditional way of doing things that most people say you have to do to win campaigns. (The governor) has embraced this technology and embraced these social platforms. We follow his lead."

Dave Carney of New Hampshire "to be heavily involved" in Newt's campaign

While calling Carney a "major player," Politico writes:
Carney, the former White House political director under George H.W. Bush, confirmed Friday what's long been widely rumored in New Hampshire political circles. After helping out with Gingrich's exploratory committee, he's planning to be heavily involved in the coming campaign, he said in an interview.

Carney said he believes Gingrich is the right man for the moment.

"I think we need big ideas," he said. "Now is the time for a big idea campaign. We're not going to win on micro issues or silly issues. We need big reforms, big ideas, a person who has a track record of big ideas."

A longtime ally of the Sununu family, Carney was Bob Dole's top consultant in 1996 and currently serves as the top political adviser to Texas Gov. Rick Perry. He's been spotted ushering Gingrich around New Hampshire in recent months.

Asked whether he believed Gingrich could win the presidency, Carney said, "Anybody can win." Americans, he said, are eager to toss out the Obama administration.

"Democrats are totally clueless when it comes to the middle of America, the flyover states," Carney said. "They just don't get it. That's why."

Rob Johnson as campaign manager, Joe Gaylord will reportedly stay at American Solutions

On Friday, there was the not-so-surprising news that Rob Johnson, who managed Texas Governor Rick Perry's 2010 Gubernatorial campaign, would become the campaign manager of Newt's Presidential run. Johnson first signed on with Newt -- in an advisory role -- back in March. (Another former Perry staffer -- called Perry's "top political consultant -- Dave Carney is helping Newt out in New Hampshire.)

Johnson's "special strength," says Gingrich spokesman Rick Tyler, "is how to harness the Internet for modern campaigns. He did that in Texas and he will have the same capability for Gingrich nationally."

A bit shockingly:
In a surprise move, Tyler said Gingrich’s closest political adviser, Joe Gaylord, will remain as CEO of American Solutions for Winning the Future, the 527 political committee that Gingrich set up about five years ago to promulgate conservative positions.
Gaylord, a native of Iowa, had been widely expected to be a senior adviser to a Gingrich campaign.

In more staff news:
Tyler also said that Sam Dawson, a protégé of Lee Atwater who has been advising Gingrich this year as he explored making a run for the White House, will be a senior political consultant to the campaign. Dawson, who worked for former Gov. Carroll Campbell of South Carolina and has been close to Gingrich since the mid 1990s, also did a stint as the executive director of the National Republican Congressional Committee.

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Examining Bob McDonnell's claim that Newt is "most important Republican" besides Reagan in last 50 years (hint: he's right).

Virginia Governor and possible 2012 Vice Presidential pick Bob McDonnell had this exchange the other day:
New York Times: Other than Reagan, the most significant Republican in the last half-century.

McDonnell: Newt Gingrich. That Contract with America really changed the way Republicans approached government -- positive, problem solving, solutions and then getting things done.

I think that was a phenomenal turnaround.
Of course, McDonnell is not alone in that view. Lee Edwards -- who worked on Barry Goldwater's campaign, has been a long-time scholar at the Heritage Foundation, and is perhaps the preeminent historian of the conservative movement -- also says that.

The Republicans have had other Presidents in that time span -- Richard Nixon, Gerald Ford, George H.W. Bush, and George W. Bush -- but none led to as many conservative policy victories as Newt nor did they help bring a political realignment along.

He set out when he was first elected to Congress in 1979 to help bring down the Democrat House majority that had become entrenched and corrupt. Edwards recalls that Newt was all but called insane for arguing Republicans could capture the House. Having done what many thought impossible, Newt followed that up with balancing the budget four years in a row -- while enacting tax cuts and rebuilding our military at the same time -- and reforming welfare.

While being the most influential Republican besides Ronald Reagan in the last half century is not reason alone to be the next GOP Presidential nominee, it is also not to be diminished. Roll Call put it this way:
In noting Gingrich’s accomplishments as a Member, [Gingrich spokesman] Tyler telegraphed what could be a campaign messaging strategy to contrast the former Speaker’s record of concrete achievement at the federal level versus his opponents’ 'rhetoric' of as-yet-unfulfilled promises.
Every Republican running for the White House will talk of balancing the federal budget but only one actually has. And if Newt reminds people of his accomplishments -- almost half of the electorate, either due to being too young in the 90s or other reasons, is not even aware Newt was Speaker -- he will get a chance to balance it again. This time at the other end of Pennsylvania Avenue.

Newt gets office space in Atlanta

Newt has rented out office space in Buckhead, a neighborhood of Atlanta, the AP reports.

As far as tying up loose knots before being able to jump in:
[Gingrich spokesman Rick] Tyler said that among other things, Gingrich had turned in the manuscript for a book and completed a film in the works by his production company.

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Newt to hold two public events in Iowa on May 20

Newt had already been scheduled to headline an Ida County Republican Party fundraiser May 20. Now he will be speaking in front of the Great Plains Chapter of the Republican Jewish Coalition at noon that day. The event is free to RJC members. For everyone else, admission is $20.

Bret Hayworth writes of the Ida County event: "A private, more expensive reception for Trunk & Tusk (GOP elephant, get it?) members will occur in the home of Ida County GOP Central Committee member Mark Leonard prior to the main fundraiser. Leonard is enthused to land Gingrich for the event, noting he was instrumental in the 1994 Republican Revolution that through the Contract With America brought the House back under Republican control."

"Gingrich will also speak in July in the area, when he’ll be the Presidential Lecture Series guest for The Family Leader at Dordt College," Hayworth said. The lecture will be July 11.
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